Businesses you can start from home during the coronavirus crisis
Posted: Mon 18th May 2020
One in ten people are thinking about starting a new business because of the coronavirus crisis, according to recent research.
Are you feeling inspired?
We've looked at the key areas of growth and the opportunities for people to start businesses at home. We've included examples from Enterprise Nation's community and links to resources that can help you get started.
1. The wellness movement
There's no doubt the crisis is taking an emotional toll. The global wellness industry is already growing at about twice the rate of the wider economy and now more than ever people need support.
Wellness can be delivered online in a variety of ways, from coaching sessions and meet-ups to written content and products.
Spoke is on a mission to normalise mindful practice for young people, using positive role models like talented rappers and spoken word artists to get their message across.
Founder Ariana Alexander-Sefre started working on the project when lockdown began. She pointed out that 83% of young people said the pandemic has impacted their mental health.
"Many under 25s are stuck at home with no school, no jobs or apprenticeships and the spiralling of thoughts can become overwhelming.
"We have a team of 16 people working on this project already and we're about to close a funding round to build out our app, which is launching in the autumn," she said.
From 21st May, Spoke is running four weeks of free mindfulness sessions on Instagram at spoke.world and TikTok at spoke.world.
2. Start a hobby-based business
People love buying from small businesses; to learn about founders' stories and shop local. Do you have a unique talent that you could turn into a business?
Olly Clarke started Puzzle Crazy after being frustrated buying puzzles online. People were looking for stuff to do at home during lockdown, making it a great time to launch.
There are a number of marketplaces like Notonthehighstreet.com that specialise in homemade products. Browsing the sites will provide inspiration and help give you an idea of pricing and popularity.
3. Consultancy, coaching and teaching
Entrepreneurs like Sonya Barlow, who started her consultancy business four weeks ago, are launching companies to share their expertise.
"It took a couple of days to set up," she said. "When you're a consultant you need to showcase your skills. I rebranded and repurposed my LinkedIn. I started using my Instagram channel more and launched a podcast."
Work came from new LinkedIn connections. Sonya added 700 in the last month, reaching out to 10 to 15% to set up calls, speaking to about half of those and winning a handful of clients.
People are using the extra time to learn too - online learning marketplace Udemy has seen a four-fold increase in consumers. This shows the demand for educational content. Do you have expertise you can share?
Platforms like Udemy and Teachable make it easy to set up online courses. You can run one-on-one sessions on platforms like Zoom, whether you're teaching someone Spanish or social media marketing.
4. Kids' entertainment
Schools are closed and most childcare is unavailable. Lots of parents have to balance working from home with entertaining their children.
When the crisis started, Ruth Bradford invested time in content marketing. "Everyone was craving as much content as possible. It felt like a natural fit," she said.
The activities on The Little Black & White Book Project's website have had over a thousand downloads since the crisis started and site traffic has doubled.
5. Home comforts and entertainment
Right now, people are being forced to stay at home. It's likely we're going to be going out less in the future too, as people are more cautious and entertainment venues open on a phased basis.
That means people are looking for home comfort and something to do. Can you help? Think about:
Home desk accessories
Activities for couples
Grooming and self-care
During previous recessions, consumers were more willing to buy cheaper luxury goods too - what's often called the lipstick effect - and that's likely to be the case this time.
6. Building tech to make a difference
The way people shop and communicate is changing. There's likely to be a long-term impact on the health service. This evolution will be underpinned by technology.
The lack of ability to go to classrooms has forced people to look for alternatives, whether they're in high school or doing a Masters degree. This is going to accelerate the long-term trend towards online learning.
Infection and symptom tracking apps
Health care communication technology
Medical and delivery robots
Teaching and meeting tools
Tech for home workers
Check out Sifted's list of startups that are supporting Europe's coronavirus efforts for more inspiration.
7. Unique food and drink offerings
People have changed the way they're shopping. Retail sales were 19% lower in April 2020 than the same month in the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium - the steepest drop since records began in 1995. However, online non-food sales increased by 58% in the same period.
This had led established businesses like Healthy Nibbles to pivot to home deliveries.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Make your own cocktails
The lockdown made Alice Bird think about the amount we rely on mainstream supermarkets.
"During the panic, shops were selling out of essentials and with zero waste stores closing due to the virus, I was facing having to buy plastic wrapped food - something I'd vowed not to do. I started to think of an idea for a solution to both of these problems: plastic-free meal kits delivered to your door," she said.
Alice started distributing her first meal kits last week. The website is in development but you can follow her progress on Instagram @plasticfreeandvegan.
Have you been inspired to start a business?
We've got lots of resources that can help you start building your business:
Follow our StartUp in 2020 infographic journey, which highlights the resources you'll need
Listen to Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones chat to the Money Box team about starting a business during the crisis.
Check out Enterprise Nation's online events, many of which are free.
Not a member? Enterprise Nation is offering three months free! Just click here, select Join our community and enter the coupon code COVID19ENFREE.
You can also watch Emma give a talk on starting up below.